Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Dramatis Personae"

2.5 stars

Air date: 5/31/1993
Written by Joe Menosky
Directed by Cliff Bole

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

A Klingon ship returns from the Gamma Quadrant, virtually destroyed by an internal mutiny. When the DS9 crew beams aboard the only survivor, they also beam over a "telepathic matrix," which infects the senior staff and causes them to re-enact an alien power struggle.

"Dramatis Personae" does not have an inspired premise—the power play has been done before, and using a convenient sci-fi explanation to warrant erratic behavior is hardly conducive for real drama. However, what works to a degree here are some of the subtle details surrounding the concept, which makes it interesting enough to be reasonably entertaining.

The way Kira's mutiny grows out of the situation set up at the beginning of the episode—her disagreement with Sisko on allowing suspected Cardassian-aiding smugglers to dock at DS9—smoothly integrates the real plot into the contrived one. Also neat is how the different characters take on distinct personalities of circumstance once the mutiny begins to brew. The uncaring Sisko, the sultrily venomous Kira, the anecdote-spewing Dax, the strategizing O'Brien, and the "neutral" Bashir in the middle—all are characters who convey a weird persona that somehow adds a bizarre spin on the show's tone.

Odo's cleverness works decently in the plot, as he plays both sides long enough to resolve the problem. Most of the show's best moments are subtle touches that aren't crucial to the story, but raise the overall level of interest. Sisko's inexplicable clock-building is one welcome bit of strangeness in this 100 percent Joe Menosky concept. Still, the inevitable feeling of pointlessness that ultimately comes out of the forced situation is all but unavoidable.

Previous episode: The Forsaken
Next episode: Duet

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50 comments on this post

Sun, Apr 14, 2013, 6:48pm (UTC -5)
"Still, the inevitable feeling of pointlessness that ultimately comes out of the forced situation is all but unavoidable". Oh, spare me. Star Trek is mostly characters in "forced situations" and this one in particular -- alien posession -- is standard Trek fare. If your major bitch about it is that it feels pointless, one wonders why you even watch the show. It's like complaining that Kung Fu movies "inevitably" have fight scenes.
Fri, May 17, 2013, 11:56pm (UTC -5)
"forced situations" is not standard fare for Deep Space Nine, or at least it ended up not being.
Mon, Jun 24, 2013, 9:20pm (UTC -5)
Yawn. Once I knew something was infecting their brains--about the time Dax started giggling--I was bored. Because they had no control over their behavior, there was no tension or character development--and no plot tension as well since it was obvious Odo would solve it.

Unlike Jammer, I didn't find their behavior entertaining in the least because I knew it didn't mean anything.

A miss for me.
Wed, Sep 11, 2013, 11:28am (UTC -5)
wow, i guess the comments section wasnt opened as early as VOY? only 3 comments...

this was an okay episode. nothing great.
Mon, Oct 14, 2013, 8:49pm (UTC -5)
I really like the episode. Odo, Kira and O'Brien make for a fun hour or political intrigue. At least they waited till the end of season on unless TNG to pull this stunt.

3 stars from me.
Tue, Oct 22, 2013, 2:08pm (UTC -5)
Watchable but not very engaging. Another "meh" episode.

Wed, Feb 26, 2014, 10:49am (UTC -5)
This was a blast. It was like an alternate universe, and the different personalities were really entertaining. Sisko is lazy and violent, Dax is scatterbrained and lost in the past, Kira's seductive and evil, and Odo is the only one not affected. I really felt like I was watching different people. I wish the episode summary hadn't spoiled me on the plot. But hey, I looked. xD
Sat, Apr 26, 2014, 10:43am (UTC -5)
Quite a fun episode, IMO, once you swallow the premise of this telepathic matrix acting out ancient history in any people it encounters.

The most interesting part for me though (brought on by binge-viewing DS9 again at the moment) is a throwaway comment by O'Brien right at the beginning, that keiko's taken a bunch of kids on an outing to Bajor. Its surely no coincidence that Winn turns up 2 episodes later ("In the Hands of the Prophets") at Keiko's school to sit in on one of her lessons, which is then denounced as blasphemous, presumably having got wind of Keiko's school through the Bajor outing. This is what sets DS9 above the other Trek series in my books, the way it's plotlines have been intricately laid out right from the start. Contrast this with Voyager, where promising antagonism between the Federation and Marquis crew was dropped pretty quickly by the end of Season 1.
Paul M.
Mon, Jun 23, 2014, 8:59am (UTC -5)
This one is a guilty pleasure for me. I don't care that it's silly and over the top, I like it! Agreed with Dusty above, it's like watching an alternate universe episode.
Tue, Jun 24, 2014, 8:02pm (UTC -5)
Enjoyable episode. The one scene missing is the scene where Kira apologizes to Quark.

I like episodes like this. Back in the 90s I stopped watching because I can't stand stories about Bajor. I can't stand their race or their worshiping of the wormhole aliens. So I always wanted to see more episodes where weird things happened like this and the episode Visionary. Now later on I do like the long story arcs but I wish they would have gotten rid of 90% of the bajoran stories and added ones like this
Mon, Jul 7, 2014, 1:50pm (UTC -5)
It appears that Enterprise learned a lesson from this below average episode.

'Observer Effect" is alien possession done right, this is not.

No drama, Odo was going to save the day. blah, blah...

2 stars because Rene Auberjonois again makes DS9 watchable.
Wed, Aug 20, 2014, 4:38pm (UTC -5)
Teaser : ***.5, 5%

Kira shows up in Sisko's office to be a bitch (this is after all, her most natural state). She wants to deny a Valerian ship docking status at the station because the Valerians sold weapons to the Cardassians during the occupation and she believes they are continuing to do so. It's a nice callback to the more interesting parts of “Emissary” in that we are reminded why Starfleet is here, calling the shots: because the Cardassians would otherwise return on a moment's notice to reclaim Bajor. Sisko offers that the Federation would use political pressure to keep the Valerians from trading weapons with the Cardassians if Kira can find evidence to support her theory. Since it was Federation political pressure that finally drove the Cardassians off Bajor without starting another war, this should be an amenable idea to Kira. Shockingly, she actually follows this supremely logical course and decides to grant the ship access.

A Klingon ship emerges from the wormhole and explodes, transporting one injured individual to Ops who, with his dying breath, proclaims “victory.” Well, this is exciting! Mystery, political intrigue, reasonable characterisation. Looks like we're in for a great episode!

Act 1 : **.5, 17%

Sisko sends the Smart People in a runabout to investigate what the Klingon's ship was up to in the Gamma Quadrant and we get a close up on Terry Ferrel smiling goofily. Normally, this would just be another instalment of derp...acting? (see the last scene in “Q-less”), but the music tells us this is baaad news. She giggles and heads out with O'Brien.

Meanwhile, Kira is being her cheerful self, ordering a “slight delay” of the Valerian ship for her own personal suspicions, but Sisko overrides and clears the ship, cueing the third time Kira slams her hands against her console in this scene.

Odo and Quark chat about Klingons. Quark immediately sees through Odo's attempts to cull information about the ship, so Odo has to resort to bribery (you'd think Quark would be happy about this). Quark reveals the Klingon crew were after something “glorious” (what else could it be?). Odo turns to leave, but has a kind of Changeling seizure in which his head flaps open like a pair of wings and he falls unconscious (I immediately thought of Data's embossed tattoo from “Masks”). I still don't understand why an unconscious Odo wouldn't revert to a pile of goo. Is it not established that maintaining humanoid form requires concentration?

Act 2 : **, 17%

Odo “wakes up” in the Infirmary and Bashir has little to offer other than a rather cryptic set of paranoid theories.

Kira confronts Sisko in his office with her “hard evidence,” ready to confront the Valerians. She and Sisko get into a weird battle of wills and she steps aside.

O'Brien notes Kira's increased antagonism to Dax and they start acting weird as well, picking sides—Dax gets a little too chatty, O'Brien a little too terse.

Kira meets with Odo to gain his support, giving us a preview of her awful “intendant” style from the MU. Kira asks Odo to infiltrate the vessel behind Sisko's back. Odo refuses and she backs down offering the same “choose a side” bit from before. While these character shifts border on interesting, they are happening so quickly that they already feel like a gimmick, long before we know what's causing them.

Act 3 : **, 17%

O'Brien notes in his personal log that Kira “must have spies everywhere,” and thus the transformation from normal to influenced is basically complete in the course of the previous act. The Smart People retrieve a portion of the Klingon's logs and the crew review them in Ops, while Sisko expresses a profound boredom in the whole thing. Odo observes everyone's odd behaviour with concern.

Meanwhile, Quark makes Dax a sand sculpture to drink, mmm mmm. Kira shows up to try and recruit Dax to her team (cue: lesbian fan fic). Kira creepily maintains eye contact while sipping on her drink. Dax continues to absent-mindedly tell stories while Kira obsessively keeps trying to get her to help hold the Valerians and promises to “get rid of Sisko.” Quark overhears and Kira throws him down like an SS officer.

Apparently, this wiry Bajoran is so strong, she breaks Quark's neck. Jesus. So he reveals to Odo that he overheard Kira's little insurrection. Odo realises that everyone is acting strangely and Quark starts yelling, revealing that the neck brace is a Mort Goldman style ruse and he's not that badly hurt.

Odo finds O'Brien of all people sitting at Sisko's desk, reviewing the Klingon's logs. From what little we manage to garner from the video, something akin to the spheres from “Contagion” infected the Klingon vessel, and a mutiny ensued.

Odo finds Sisko in his quarters under heavy guard quietly and obsessively drawing a clock. In case we didn't already get it, he lets us know that he doesn't give a shit about the station anymore and tells Odo to talk to O'Brien.

Instead of slowly letting our characters transform into their various personæ, the episode has to beat us over the head with their new personalities ad nauseum. Either the writers didn't have confidence in the strength of their characters (and our ability to recognise the change subtly) or they really thought all these little performances were worth the screentime.

Act 4 : **, 17%

Mirroring O'Brien, Odo finds Kira with her feet up in his office, asking for his help. She confesses to locking down the Valerian ship. She tries seducing him with promises of her upcoming rule of the station. Odo tries communicating with an outside political party but the Federation and Bajor, but Kira and O'Brien have respectively restricted such communication. Odo is not surprised. He reviews the Klingon's newly reconstructed logs revealing the spheres of doom and an ancient power struggle.

Sisko orders O'Brien to arrest all the Bajorans, but O'Brien is more cautious and cunning. Sisko would rather go down phasers firing than play subterfuge with Kira, but O'Brien convinces him to wait while they conspire to leave on the Valerian vessel.

I think I know what Joe Menosky was going for here; the superimposed personæ attach themselves to hosts who most closely resemble the archived personality; Kira and Sisko are emotionally volatile leaders and, to a certain extent, don't trust each other; O'Brien is loyal and clever; Dax is nostalgic and aloof; Bashir is an observer, curious about politics (his later forays into spy thrillers are a testament to that). The problem is, the personality shifts are so extreme that we can't take these actions as revelations about their real characters (in contrast to, say, “The Killing Game”). If the episode could have been more patient and kept its cards closer, we could have followed a more natural progression from normal characterisation to exaggerated personæ.

So Odo finalises his theory about the telepathic matrix, using Bashir's own paranoia against him to get him to devise a technobabble solution to the real problem (the matrix) under the guise of dealing with the reenacted power struggle.

A Bajoran tries to poison Sisko in Ops. I suppose this particular Bajoran was in Ops when the Klingon was transported, because if he's just a regular unaffected officer following Kira's orders, that would reveal some major problems in the station's personnel.

So Sisko and O'Brien beat up Dax and the Bajoran agent, but Kira arrives with an armed party right before Sisko is able to kill the guy. Huh. So I guess there really will be some personnel problems. I'm sure there will be consequences...

Act 5 : *.5, 17%

Clever Miles beams Sisko and himself to safety (since Dax was too absent-minded to shut down the transporters). Odo plays along with Sisko while Bashir continues looking for his solution. Kira figures out that Odo is helping Sisko (but of course he plays it off as leading the commander into a trap).

Question : where is everybody? Isn't anyone else on duty? It seems like it's just the senior staff and a couple of extras running around the station at this point.

The notion that only those in direct proximity to the Klingon is confirmed as Odo drives out the matrix or whatever only when the senior staff is together (also ruling out the possibility that any of the other Bajorans (including the one who tried to kill Sisko) were affected, meaning they did this of their own volition. Geeze.

What follows is a goofy scene that takes all the suspense from the Beverly/Geordi plot in “Disaster” and throws it out so Odo can flush the matrices into space while the crew calmly avoids being blown out with it, suffering no ill effects. Great.

Kira tries to do some back-pedalling on this confusing idea by offering an apology to Sisko. We are given an interesting final shot where Sisko contemplates the clock he built while under the influence. Could this mean something? A sign of things to come?


Episode as Functionary : *.5, 10%

A story with a lot of promise is really botched by some poor choices. How to fix this? Have the mutiny plot build up very slowly and naturally from Kira's initial disagreement with Sisko; there need to be a couple of scenes *after* they're affected by the matrix where they speak like themselves and gradually take on the exaggerated personalities unto a crisis point, when Odo can step in and save the day. Instead, they almost instantly change and we have to endure a bunch of pointless scenes that reveal to us nothing about these characters. Too bad. Another kind of significant issue is all the other people on the station! I mean, many of them went along with Sisko's and Kira's rivalry but weren't affect by the matrix. Shouldn't there be some fallout from how easily the Bajorans mutinied or how willing the Starfleet officers were to throwing the Bajorans under the bus?

Final Score : **
Thu, Mar 26, 2015, 11:28pm (UTC -5)
'...put the shoe on the right foot first, but put the left foot first into the bathtub.'

That line and Kira's reaction to it always kills me. :)
William B
Fri, Jul 17, 2015, 8:03pm (UTC -5)
So: after an argument begins, a flash goes off in Ops, and everyone there is impacted, except Odo, whose non-humanoid nature allows him the objectivity to see how the personalities and identities of the major players are altered. In some ways, this episode reinforces the central narrative of Odo's life, which gets gradually complicated, obliterated and rebuilt: that Odo is the lone sane man in the wilderness; that solids are mercurial and dishonourable and Only He stands up for the truth, and so on. Even in lesser episodes (and this is definitely one), I'm impressed with the way the early episodes do set this aspect of Odo up for the future deconstruction. One of the enjoyable aspects of this show is to see Odo gradually learning to start playing multiple sides against each other, like he's Yojimbo/The Man With No Name, but primarily to get to a common goal to restore people to their natural state; my favourite is his easy transition from "I was unaffected because I'm a shapeshifter" to "only you and I were unaffected" with Bashir.

Anyway, one thing that's a bit frustrating about this show is that the Federation/Bajoran explosion of tensions that happens just underlines the story that's not being told -- which is, well, what actually *is* the Federation/Bajoran situation? How well *do* they work together usually? There's a lot of focus on Kira, but there are no other Bajorans on the station who have any key role (next episode introduces Neela). If the episode tells us something about these characters, and the Federation/Bajoran relations, we have to be able to at least somewhat measure it against a standard, which is somewhat lacking in this not-bad but scattered premiere season. I guess the way I'd interpret the story of this episode as being something along the lines of: historical conflicts repeat themselves, with smaller variations than one might think, in different situations, and it *can* become easy for conflicts to start following a near-predetermined script if there aren't sober minds ready to remind people who they are. It's a little like TOS' "Day of the Dove" in that way, but DotD didn't distort its characters quite so much that they were totally unrecognizable. As well as the idea that the conflict grows out of the conflict over the Valerians, Elliott points out that the personalities people take on have something to do with their original personalities; I'd add to his list that O'Brien's "don't get too close with the natives" statement to Dax in the Runabout represents a somewhat parochial and small-minded attitude that the generally very decent O'Brien occasionally shows. Bashir's excitement at a whole conflict springing up around him seems of a piece not just with his later spy novels but his enthusiasm about being approached by Garak when he believed Garak to be a likely spy, as well as his general desire to be on a station primarily to be close to the action rather than because of his genuine humanitarian concerns.

Brooks gets a lot of flak for his increasingly bizarre acting choices over the series, and I am not sure how I feel about him when he gets into full-on Brooks Acting mode later on, but I admit that it's kind of fun to see him going all out on playing a total maniac every now and again. IT'S A CLOCK!!!

Anyway, I end up enjoying this episode and it has a few points to recommend it, but it is *very* thin. I'd say 2 stars.
Diamond Dave
Fri, Oct 23, 2015, 8:17am (UTC -5)
A slow burner that never really catches fire, this almost works as a prelude to the mirror universe, with characters playing off type and eventually chewing the scenery to (less than impressive) effect. Ultimately it meanders rather slowly to a conclusion. And because the characters are not playing heightened versions of themselves, we don't really learn anything about them.

What does work is Odo's playing off against all sides - particularly the smooth way he switches gears to engage Bashir - which continues to reinforce the feeling that Odo is developing into one of the strongest characters of this first series. 2.5 stars.
Mon, Jan 4, 2016, 12:08pm (UTC -5)
In terms of kooky Trek and kooky DS9 episodes, I enjoyed it. No there was no real drama, the payoff was just in how the kookiness affected everybody. Love how Dax turned out.

And why were you making the clock?
...I have no idea.
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 9:10am (UTC -5)
"Dramatis Personae" is a rather unremarkable story with an unremarkable sci-concept and an unremarkable ending. Still despite that, it does have a charm to it.

What we have is essentially a story where almost none of the main characters appear, as all but two of them act like completely different persons. Yet, the way the mutiny unfolds in a slow-burn, the enjoyably kooky performances from everyone playing someone new and the general atmosphere of unease as the new suspicious characters play off against each other all manage to make it a somewhat enjoyable, if ultimately pointless, outing.

If there's any flaw it's the complete lack of resolution to the Valerian ship sub-plot. Before the wackiness even begins, Kira is determined to show that they're supplying weapons to the Cardassians. They eventually discover that they are, in fact, doing just that. However, once the virus has been dealt with, it's all just forgotten about. What happened to them? Were they turned over to Bajoran authorities? Was their cargo seized? Who knows.

Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 11:09am (UTC -5)
@Luke - THIS gets a 6/10 over "Captive Pursuit"? And "Wishes" (which is equally stupid but more fun IMHO) gets 1/3 of the score?!

You were doing so well up until now too... :P
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 12:31pm (UTC -5)
"Captive Pursuit" was just bland. "If Wishes Were Horses" was dumb. This one at least had something going for it.

Of course, that's all just my opinion. I could be wrong. :P
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 2:15pm (UTC -5)
@Luke - As long as you score the next two high you're forgiven!
Tue, Mar 1, 2016, 7:11am (UTC -5)
I had to laugh when, every time Dax tries to tell a story (ANY story), she is interrupted just after she starts. I kind of liked that running gag.

Bajorans automatically following Kira when she tells them to go after the Starfleet personnel. Hmm... I wonder what the Baj security would do if, say, there were a civil war or uprising?

Heh, I liked the clock.

Regards... RandomThoughts
Fri, Jul 8, 2016, 3:10pm (UTC -5)
One thing I noticed.....Odo takes away the Dopterian...but leaves the stolen items on a table? Really?
Wed, Mar 8, 2017, 2:00am (UTC -5)
I really got a pre-MU vibe here. Kira is seductive and violent, Sisko like his MU counterpart is lazy and violent, O'Brien is a strategist gaming war and politics.

I'm not opposed to alien possession plots as cliché as they are so long as they are handled well here it was okay.

The broader consequences would be interesting though what would happen once Starfleet Command and the BPG learn about this?

What if Kira had actually killed Sisko? Even if the BPG disavowed it and the possession was later discovered how would SF react?
Jeffrey Jakucyk
Tue, May 9, 2017, 7:30pm (UTC -5)
This episode was quite middling, and would've been greatly helped by a strong musical score (think TNG's Booby Trap or Night Terrors). Sadly, we get the usual bland brass wallpaper music, which just highlights the banality of the episode. Thanks a lot Rick Berman >_<
Fri, Jun 2, 2017, 12:35pm (UTC -5)
This episode: 6/10
Avery Brooks: 10/10

Love it when he hams up the place
Thu, Jul 6, 2017, 4:05pm (UTC -5)
Rewatching DS9 season 1, and I really enjoyed this ep a lot more than I thought I would- it's not a classic but it's well worth my time. I especially love how Odo plays both sides to resolve the greater threat once he realizes what's going on - great character development there.
Mon, Jul 17, 2017, 1:40am (UTC -5)
1.5 stars. Another potentially interesting idea executed in a very pedestrian way. None of it does anything for me. Probably why I wasn't a regular viewer of DS9 in season 1 back in 1993 and all these years later the first season still stinks. I'm surprised at the high ratings Jammer gave a lot of these S1 episodes honestly
Thu, Sep 21, 2017, 4:53pm (UTC -5)
This was absolute toss that I switched off in horror after the first ten minutes, stripping naked and whacking my back with a wet towel (as I don't own a cat o'nine tails) until the episode was purged from my mind. I love DS9. I love the characters. So the last thing I tune in to see is the characters acting like a bunch of prats from a panto. Surely they could have found a better way to exploit the differences between the Feds and the Bajorans than this? Look at how Voyager handled it, with Tuvok's holoprogram being reprogrammed by Seska. Not only was the episode funny, it was exciting and finished with a brilliant twist which made Tuvok look epic. (I've dated women like Seska.)

Well the battle lines are drawn better in the season finale, even if they achieved this by using the horrible Keiko. Ugh.
Mon, Dec 25, 2017, 7:51pm (UTC -5)
Just now watching DS9 for the first time. Nobody noticed a costume continuity trip-up: Sisko and O'Brien take their comm badges off so they can't be followed by Kira, but Sisko shows up in the showdown scene both with and without the badge on his uniform.

It's fun finding little things like that.
Tue, Jan 2, 2018, 4:23pm (UTC -5)
Major Kira is so sexy.
Sun, Jun 17, 2018, 9:02am (UTC -5)
I keep wondering why Odo had that 'seizure' following his talk with Quark, one would have to assume it had to do with aftermath of the matrix infiltration as well, or is it simply a pretext for bringing him on the table of Dr Bashir?
The clock-obsessed Sisko, otherwise lazy and careless, looks as if the writers took the historical figure of Louis XVI as role model, who also liked to do a little clock working as his hobby while neglecting politics - which led to the French Revolution...
Tue, Jul 24, 2018, 9:23pm (UTC -5)
"Dramatis Personae" had potential.....on TNG. Except that TNG already did this episode, and did it better, in "Power Play". The workmanlike execution really sinks this one into mediocrity. It's entertaining but doesn't really play to any of DS9's numerous strengths.

2.5 stars.
Thu, Nov 15, 2018, 7:42pm (UTC -5)
An enjoyable hour even though there's nothing original here -- definitely interesting watching the power play unfold between the Kira and Sisko camps as it starts off quite naturally with the freighter docking. It's an episode that makes good use of most of the major players, although some of the behaviors while under the influence of the alien telepathic matrix are odd -- like Sisko withdrawing, Dax being confused -- it's really O'Brien and Kira that take charge. Sisko builds an effing clock!?!?

I wasn't sure why Odo collapsed early in the episode -- might have been when the telepathic matrix tried to take him over and failed. I liked how the rivalry/mutiny slowly builds and sure enough we can suspect that it is yet another DS9 episode of the station coming under the influence of "illness". I guess that would be a problem with the timing/premise of "Dramatis Personae" -- how many times in Season 1 has the station or its key personnel been in jeopardy like this ("Babel", "The Forsaken", "Q-Less", "If Wishes Were Horses" to name a few).

It kind of felt like a Mirror Universe episode (but DS9 will get its fair share of those). Also, it's an excuse to make the characters act out of character -- won't be the last time in DS9.

Kira really should have killed Sisko -- for how long did she have him at gunpoint? Naturally, Sisko is allowed to make a speech which buys time for Odo/Bashir to save the day -- quite typical. It's a pretty good Odo episode in terms of being the investigator, being neutral and not being vulnerable to the telepathic matrix.

2.5 stars for "Dramatis Personae" -- standard stuff but well executed. I think Visitor/Kira show why she is one of the best actors/characters on DS9 - different approaches to wooing Dax/Odo (not unlike Mirror Kira). Fairly predictable but a decent, enjoyable episode.
Tue, Nov 27, 2018, 10:03am (UTC -5)
Very one note, repetitive scenes, obvious conclusion- best part, though, was watching Odo trying to balance it all, getting Bashir's cooperation, etc.

Nothing spectacular, a bit boring, but a respectable offering overall.
Tue, Dec 4, 2018, 12:06am (UTC -5)
I must be one of the few people who thinks this ranks among the best DS9 episodes. I give it 3 1/2 stars.
Peter G.
Tue, Dec 4, 2018, 12:11am (UTC -5)
@ Adrian,

I'm with you on that one. It's always been one of my favorites of S1 hands down. Aside from the fun story, it also ends up anticipating a lot of character traits in almost everyone that only become established much, much later. Details in this one end up being revisited (intentionally or not) in many episodes to come. Besides all that it plays on the basis suspense of the divided loyalties in the main cast and casts them all in an extreme light to show exactly where we're at right now in the series in terms of how much trust has really been established. It's almost like a bottle where we're being shown the character bibles from square one, but with a twist - that being, to act out the worst case scenario of how things might actually have gone down with Bajor.
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 12:26am (UTC -5)
Even though alien possession is a tired trope if not a cliche, this was a twist that was pretty fresh to me..since it's a whole,group of people being influenced by a sort of,energy matrix..which is like a telepathic library--itself a neat and pretty original idea-- and not just possessed by other entities but specifically acting out a power struggle those details make the episode more unique and creative and original sci fi...wouldn't you agree Jammer..this was pretty original and creative,sci first..maybe even more than Distant Voices from season 3..even if it wasn't totally riveting or powerful drama..does anyone else agree..?
Sun, Oct 13, 2019, 9:58am (UTC -5)
@Leif I agree.

Could the ep have been better? Yes. I'd have liked to have seen more of the real characters, but at this point in the series they are still getting established so we don't know whether these are amplified traits, or just completely out of character.

For sci-fi there are stock plots and ideas, but the details in how it's executed are generally what interest me. So this episode,the question was 'they are out of character - why?'. That's what kept me watching, and of course the answer to that also determines whether the station and/or characters are in danger.

Not the best episode, but interesting enough for me - the the first time round, anyway, and again after enough time has passed to forget how it turns out. Certainly not a favourite to regularly revisit.
Jamie Mann
Sun, Nov 17, 2019, 2:41pm (UTC -5)
Not a bad episode in some ways, but inherently limited by the fact that it's a "reset" episode, where all the events and character interactions are wiped away at the end of the episode.

A throwaway episode that's not really worth rewatching.
Sat, Apr 18, 2020, 2:13am (UTC -5)
Odo moves open cargo bay door: "Everybody grab onto something secure!"

Entire command staff of DS9 grab onto the flimsiest, least secure boxes in the Star Trek universe.
Adam B
Fri, Jun 19, 2020, 11:04am (UTC -5)
These season 1 episodes are short on any sort of explanation for what happens in the episode. Why was Sisko building a clock? (Also, I find the way he just says "A CLOCK!" hilarious) Chalk this one up to another random alien for which we know nothing about. It's just like If Wishes Were Horses - the aliens leave. But mister alien? Can we learn anything about you? "No, maybe next year."
Tue, Aug 10, 2021, 1:48am (UTC -5)
I have to admit I enjoyed this. It was kind of a guilty pleasure, much like the Evil Janeway scenes in that Voyager episode where the Doctor is left behind on an alien planet, or the alternate universe episode of Enterprise.
Bok R'Mor
Mon, Feb 14, 2022, 1:58pm (UTC -5)
I do enjoy this episode.

Re-watching it and Dax is hilarious. Her portrayal is just so wonderfully random. It makes no sense, no explanation is given, and it is simply briliantly played by Farrell. A highlight.
Mon, Mar 28, 2022, 9:54pm (UTC -5)
I hadn't seen this in years, and this time, I couldn't watch this all the way through. The characters were too far out of character to have any meaning. I can imagine the premise being interesting if they had each behaved as their normal character thrown into a situation where everyone else was preventing them from doing their job, with their usual motivation, perhaps cranked up several notches, and warped by a misperception of the circumstances. Kira comes closest to that, with her focus on protecting Bajor. But Bashir should be trying to study some imaginary contagion, not trying to pick the winning side in a mutiny. I'm not sure what Dax with all her past hosts' personalities should be doing, but not sitting around being a distracted ditz.

Maybe a person just has to be in the right mood to appreciate this episode. I just found it irritating this time.
Tue, Jul 12, 2022, 10:16pm (UTC -5)
"character development"

Here we go again with people no appreciating philosophical problems. This episode ask the the question who are we really? And it teaches us a potential way to get a conspiracy theorist to defeat themselves.

You dont nees character development all the time if there are lessons to be learned.
Lawrence Bullock
Wed, Nov 9, 2022, 10:49pm (UTC -5)
I liked it. I've read ALL the comments. Some good points ( you know who you are) some bad points
(same) and some real DK masterpieces.

I also know which of you are with me and which are against me.
Fri, Jul 14, 2023, 6:11pm (UTC -5)
@Jammer et al, can't we all agree the sci fi premise was ORIGINAL AND IMAGINTIATVIE it was a fresh sci fi twist on alien body possession and power plays was it not??
Sun, Jul 16, 2023, 12:28am (UTC -5)
Yea jammer just because this had an old core concept of a power play, isn't the sci fi concept of a telepathic matrix fresh and creative and fairly new or original? It's like the neural energy and memories of several ppl and event stored somehow which makes it different from clichéd alien possession episodes like the Assignment and Warlod and not an archive so different from Massks so isn't it an original concept?
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 8:08am (UTC -5)
Dramatis Personae
One of the best Season 1 episodes with a Latin title!

Seriously, it was quite entertaining and foreshadowed the Mirror Universe episodes of later seasons. The actors really had a penchant for negative portrayals. So much so, that one begins to speculate whether their normal roles as decent people were, in fact, forced.

My main dislike was the violence shown toward poor Quark by Kira, who injures him rather gravely. That scene presaged the cruelty of Visitor's later role as the Intendant, heartless and chilling. That such behavior (and Odo's callousness towards the injured Quark, who attempts to file a complaint) fills in as entertainment, is troubling, for it diminishes the experience of victims everywhere.
Beard of Sisko
Mon, Sep 11, 2023, 3:17am (UTC -5)
A delightfully cheesy episode. Always worth watching for Avery Brooks's scenery chewing.

Usually I don't care much for "acting out of character" episodes but this one just kind of works. And I think it's because they aren't really acting out of character insomuch as they're acting in character excessively. The entities didn't create a conflict, they simply exaggerated one that already existed.

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